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  CSPAN    Public Affairs    News  News/Business.  

    December 5, 2012
    5:00 - 8:00pm EST  

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dad went to the fourth grade or something like that. my mom, not much more. they grew up in very underprivileged circumstances. they moved to the united states and in the 20th century they were able to find jobs where they could own a house, buy a car, take vacations. we never had everything we wanted but we always had more than we needed. and that's a tribute to the miracle of the american middle class and i understand that being raised by parents like that somewhere else would have meant -- would not have meant what it meant here. why not have gone as far. i'd be stuck somewhere else. . you had more than you needed? >> you just realize -- the thing i always realized is they from the very beginning drilled deep to us there wasn't anything we couldn't do. there is no limits as to how far we can go. we have limits because we got here late, the language, the skills, but you can be anything you want. and i can't tell you how
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important that is for a young person to not only have dreams and believe those dreams are possible. if i worry about anything, i spoke about this last night, young americans aren't dreaming or aren't believing the dreams are accessible to them. >> >> you mentioned mitt romney who until three weeks ago was the leader of the party. mitt romney going to disappear or does he have a continuing role? >> i hope he doesn't disappear and hope he has a continuing role. first of all, very few people have done what he has done, run for president and be the nominee of the party. >> and get crushed. >> that's not accurate. he got 47%. he won a lot of states. he didn't lose 49-1. he won places and has a lot of
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supporters. but he has been successful at life. and i told him this, too. mitt romney is a role model as a person, a father, husband, community leader. he has a lot to offer the republican party and our country and i don't know what that role is going to be but i'm excited because he has a lot to continue to contribute. >> one of the issues you will be talking about in the coming year is immigration and the big encilada is a pathway to citizenship. can that get done in the next four years? >> i hope so. i think it needs to be dealt with comprehensively but not in a comprehensive package of bills. each of these issues has their own constituencies and deserve to be dealt with squarely and consensus on all of them. reach consensus on board infrastructure and e-verify, modernizing our immigration
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system and stem and high tech professions. i think we can build a strong consensus on ag workers. >> those are all easy. >> they aren't easy. some sort of alternative to the dream act that allows us to accommodate these kids without encouraging it in the future. you are still left with the problem of people who are here undocumented. it's going to be a lot easier, not easy, but a lot easier, both politically and policy perspective if you deal with these other issues. there will be less of them and avail themselves of guest worker program or alternative to the dream act or reform of the immigration system. second, the american people will say you did e-verify and did border security, now we can be the most compassion nature people in the world and view this situation for what it is.
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if we can depoliticize this issue, we can solve it. and i'm in there and i hope that's the case because we have to deal with it, not for political purposes, but for american purposes. if we don't have a 21st century immigration system it cannot be what it is destined to be. >> a few days after the election when the republicans looked at the figures from the president how mitt romney had done with hispanic voters, there was like a 44-point gap. they said we need to do something aggressive on immigration. but it wasn't a couple weeks. republicans couldn't agree on what needs to be done, the fervor seemed to have already cooled. how do you get your own party on the same page, let alone bring on democrats? >> i disagree. i don't think that's what is happening. what is happening, the concept
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of immigration reform, there is a lot of consensus. the details of immigration reform need to be examined. i'll give you an example. we have millions of people waiting to come here legally and they come to my office and say we have done it the right way, waited, paid the fees, but you are telling me if i came here illegally it would have been faster? it didn't seem right. that is the kind of debate we are going to have. on the ag worker-guest worker, there are labor unions that are not in favor of a guest worker program and will have a debate about these things. this is is going to take a while and no magic solution to this. but we have to do it and important to do it and i believe we can do it. >> last question on this, four years from now, what is the likelihood that congress has passed, the president has signed some pathway to citizenship for current illegals? >> it is 50-50 and i hope i'm
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not being overly optimistic. i hope portions of immigration reform can be dealt with quicker than others but my hope is we have dealt with that issue and moved on. >> i brought along an old friend, from 2006 when you are a florida official, 100 innovative ideas for florida's future. one of the promises you said we should make to people is life without the -- you said that you favored life without exception for sexual presented dators. one of the issues you talked about is human trafficking, sexual exploittation of children. why has the united states been so slow to act? >> hard to believe we have a domestic problem. human slavery we always felt that it has gone on somewhere
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else. sex trafficking is a horrific thing and a lot of it in the united states but there is labor trafficking. there are more people in that category. there are people sleeping in closets being held here in this country as servants and we have to deal with that as well. >> what's the single biggest thing you think should be done to alleviate child sex trafficking. >> accepts of awareness and people have to believe this exists. one of the things we are doing in south florida, they are training folks at the entry folks and customs to spot this. there are signs and profiles of human trafficking. so the awareness part is important. the second part is we have to take these young women when they are interacting with law enforcement because a lot of them find themselves into prostitution and get treated like perpetrators as opposed to victims. this is the psychology of a perpetrator but they are victims
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and we have to get law enforcement and our judicial system to treat these women as victims and put them in a setting to pull themselves away from drug addition. >> in a minute, politico is -- politico is going to ask you some questions. one of the questions that has come in, who is the best leader in washington, d.c.? >> robert griffin, iii. >> why did the majority of americans reject the republican party in the recent election? >> it was an election and it was a very close election. if you look at the nims and the differences between the two. i think the republican party can do a better job of limited government and freep enterprise movement and connect those policies. >> why has there been a failure to connect? >> i'm not sure there is one reason for it and i haven't had time to think about it why it
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has happened but it needs to happen. the principles we stand for, free enterprise and limited government is the only way to stabilize and grow our middle class which i hope every american can attain. >> how worried are you about the republican chances -- >> you mean from the voters' perspective. the demographic changes? i don't think any voter in america -- there are voters that are locked into one party or the other but the fastest growing group is people who vote for candidates and not parties and people understand the issues and hopes that they have and offer real and concrete policy situations and real role for government to play in addressing those angst yits they face. we are one election away to do it. we have to recognize what it is and concentrate on doing it. >> how much of a danger to
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republicans do you think is posed by the changing demographic? >> it's not a danger but it's a challenge. like every election it's a challenge. take what you stand for and try to convince people that it is better for them than what the other side is offering. sometimes people have forgotten the art of persuasion. it's not about what people are for and oftentimes it should be understanding what is right for the country and working hard to convince people that is the right thing for our country. that is the important part of our political process. >> why did the romney-ryan ticket lost the hispanic vote by 44%? >> there are hispanics that are liberal democrats. there is a significant number of hispanic voters that vote for the candidate and not the party and a lot of things happened before this ticket came together that hurt our opportunity. the republican party for many
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years, a lot of them have positioned themselves as an anti-illegal immigration party but we need to be the pro-legal immigration party. we need to put out concrete proposals to show that we are proud of the fact that every year one million people come to the united states legally and permanently. no other country in the world that comes close. number two, we understand that legal immigration, not just an important part of our hertteage but an important part of our future. and when you talk about illegal immigration you aren't talking about flight to locus but real human beings. they cannot provide their family a better life where they live and this country can and that's where they go. these are real human beings and that's why it is a big issue in the hispanic community. you know somebody who is living
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under the circumstance and your heart breaks for them even if you know what they have done is legally wrong, morally you feel for them because you recognize that could be you. >> there was a column this week behind the curtain and for that, your advisers said you didn't want to be pigeon-holed as the hispanic capped but known as a conservative-solution-oriented leader. ethnicity is a big part of the reason for the curiosity about you, do you feel pressure in that area? >> no, i don't. not that i don't want to be the hispanic candidate per se, but i come from where i come from. i grew up in a family that faced certain struggles and circumstances and i live in a neighborhood of people whose lives are the kinds of things that i hope government policies will speak to and i'm deeply influenced by that and no way to escape that. people have struggled on
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immigration issues and i'm deeply influenced by that. that applies to a broad swath of americans. the issues are not that different. families are getting ready to take their kids to school this morning and they are worried about what my parents used to worry about, how are we going to give these kids a better chance and the political movement, not the political party, the political movement that can best identify concrete things that government can do to address those are the ones that are going to be successful. >> the way party officials speak, how do you avoid being the hispanic candidate this? >> my name is marco rubio and i come from where i come from and proud. it influences my public policy in a positive way. doesn't make me better than anyone else or more qualified. makes me who i am and i will
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continue to do that, not for an ethnic purpose but for a policy purpose. it informs me and allows me to relate and apply public policy. why do i care about programs in student loans, because i had them. i think that's a good thing in public policy and that's why we have a representative republic. >> lois has a question. >> senator, you have said, i have heard you say that the latino community is quite conservative, social issues, fiscally as is the african-american community. both communities rejected your party. beyond immigration reform, you know, what kind of policies should the party put forth? it's not just the message or rhetoric that could track this demographic back, like for instance, there was a lot of talk during the campaign like
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the children of immigrants being able to go to school. what else can they offer and can you get that by your party? >> i think the issues that appeal to minorities in this country are the same that appeal to everybody else. what's the number one issue that hovers over us and that is the growing opportunity act between the hopes and dreams and their chances to accomplish it particularly to get into the middle class that my parents were able to. what are the impediments to that? we have an economy that aren't creating enough of those middle-class jobs and we don't have enough people with skills to do those jobs and there are a lot of people that fall into those categories. access to education and the impediments i faced in my own life to education and how impossible it would have been for us to go to college if there weren't pell grants and student loans. it's the social realities and
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social changes that have occurred. you can't separate economic well-being from their social well-being. there are many young kids in america that are growing up in difficult circumstances raised by heroic parent, a grandmother in substandard housing, poor nutrition and schools that are failing. those kids are going to struggle. they don't go to after-school activities because the paints can't afford the fees. can you succeed? there are parents out there doing amazing things and will be the first ones to tell you, it is hard, but we can't be the country we need to be if we don't address that. government can have a role but civil society has a bigger role and we should support that and we have to address that and recognize it and talk about it. and maybe we haven't talked enough about that. i don't think that's the way to appeal to minority voters, that's the way to improve our country because we can't move
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ahead without them. >> first, i think you have a special guest here. >> my wife is here. i don't know where she's sitting. >> today's her birthday. welcome, happy birthday. we are big on birthdays. [applause] >> isn't this romantic? >> we are going to go to dinner and see the lincoln movie. it's hard to see a movie with four little kids. >> that's it, no more, come back to us on the debt ceiling. "new york times" said that is a fullback position.
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>> i don't want to fill into all of that because i'm obviously confident that there are enough people, majority of people in this town understand what we are playing with, playing chicken with is the most important country in the world and we are on the verge of doing perhaps lasting damage to this extraordinary country that we inherited. that being said, before we talk about fiscal cliff, we are here because of the last fiscal cliff. since we had another fiscal cliff-type scenario that created the scenario and ridiculous idea that i voted against, put a bunch of things bad to happen at one time. surprise, it didn't work and we are facing this. there are two issues number one, avoid doing damage and avoid doing harm. and we need to look for a way to accomplish that in the short-term. and we have to, we have to have a conversation about getting the
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fiscal house in order. i heard bob talking about that. it is true. we spend $1 trillion more than we take in. it's a fact and we have to address it. i approach this issue with the following belief. the only way to get it in order is through rapid economic growth. no taxes you can raise to bring the debt down. what the president is offering is not enough but will make a dent on job creation, particularly middle-class job creation. i oppose his plan. we should do real tax reform. if there are loopholes, there is a loophole for being able to write off your yacht as a second home. let's go after that. we need more revenue and the way you do that is through rapid economic growth. it's the only way to generate the kind of revenue you need and hold it. >> what's the only way you would raise tax rates on the top 2%?
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>> the number one issue is to grow the economy and creating jobs. i believe that proposal will hurt job creation. the tru millionaires, they have the best accountants and lawyers in america. do whatever you want, they are go to go maximize it. the people who get crushed, the small s corporation who can't afford to do this in the tax code and ends up getting creamed. they have to get the money from somewhere. though can lay off workers, and none of those things are good for our economy. it's about growth. this stuff hurts growth. the president has a tax increase that will help grow the economy. i'm interested to hear about it. >> you would vote against the fallback plan extending the tax
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cuts. >> i would vote against my plan that hurts growth because growth is our only solution. how's that? >> bottom line? >> i'm not voting for anything that hurts growth. raising taxes hurts growth. >> you think we are more likely to have a deal by christmas eve or go over the cliff? >> i think something will happen. there is too much at stake. i think something will happen. >> by christmas or new year's eve? >> yes. i know these guys. when the cameras are off and people are being people and not just senators on television, people get it. this is important. and hopefully we'll get there in the short-term and long-term. >> a deal by christmas? >> i hope so, yes. >> you caused a little ralk cuss a few weeks ago in answer to "g
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q." >> i was trying to make the same point that the president made a few years ago, there is no scientific age of the earth. i was referring to the theological debate. and i'm not -- >> just to set this, you said i'm not a scientist. >> i'm not in a position -- to the extent there is any date, i'm not in a position to really mediate that. on the theerling call debate, how do you reconcile what science has established what what you may think your faith teaches. when it comes to the age of the earth, there is no conflict. god created the heavens and the earth and scientific advances has given us insight. but i believe he has done it.
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and i have reconciled that. but other people have a deeper thought. in america, we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever it is we believe and that means teaching them science. but also parents have the right to teach them theology and reconcile those two things as they see fit. that's the point the president was making back in 2007. so that's what i was saying. >> accepting that context, household is the earth? >> -- how old is the fourth, four and a half billion years old. god created it out of nothing. and science has given us insight as to how and when he did it. and the more science learns the more i'm convinced that god is real. >> you have had a very fascinating faith journey. you were baptized catholic and
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mormon and later to the catholic church. >> maybe i'm a theologian. and you go to mass and attend services at a fellowship. >> i'm roman catholic and i accept the church's teachings and i practice. we interact and have known a church in south florida with is a phenomenal teacher of the written word. the great pastor. and it's not much different than roman catholics who like watching billy graham's sermons. i have grown in my faith and what i have learned. i'm a roman catholic and accept 100% the teaching authority of the church. i have deep appreciation for how our brothers and sisters are bringing thousands of people to
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salvation. and there is a lot of people i know that actually do that. that is kind of a big deal. a lot of people say yeah, i have done that, too. it has enriched us. >> some cunds when you go to both. >> yeah. >> that is a lot of church. >> you can never have enough god. [laughter] >> as you go forth and you maybe a national candidate -- you continue in the public forum, you are going to be asked a lot of tough questions, when does life begin? >> at conception. science has established that as well. when a human egg becomes a human embryo, that is life. it cannot be anything but a human being. i wish there were more people committed to science and they wouldn't ignore that scientific
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fact. they are pretty brave about saying the age of the earth and science has definitively said life begins at conception. >> why did your comments about the age of the earth cause such a raucus? >> in that group or that people -- not a sing -- not a single person at the supermarket asked me about that. >> there is a world beyond the blogoatmosphere? >> i like this kind of stuff and talk further about things i believe in. >> do you regret your answer to "gq"? >> i wish i would have given a better answer. we were talking about hip-hop and then went talking about the
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earth. got me off the road. that was the point i was trying to make. >> you are irritated about the question? >> i wasn't. i thought i was making a point and if i had minutes to think about it, i would have been more clear. not the worst thing that has ever happened to me. >> is homosexuality a sin? >> the faith teaches that it is and that's what the bible teaches and that's what faith teaches and there are a bunch of other sibs that are no less. it teaches that lying is a sin and disrespecting your parents is a sin and could have eting your neighbor. so there isn't a person in this room that isn't guilty of sin. i don't go around pointing fingers. i'm responsible for my salvation and my family and what our faith teaches. as a policy maker i could tell
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you i'm informed by my faith and my faith informs me who i am as a person but not as a way to pass judgment. >> you are reading a book that is on "new york times" best seller list. >> there are a lot of challenges in that conflict in afghanistan. it's a difficult conflict that has multiple steers to it. there is the direct conflict making sure there isn't a safe haven for the taliban. and then you have tribal rivalries that have to be played out where the u.s.' cooperation re-- creates resentment. it gives this very strange dynamic and insight into the impact that history is having into that area because this is part of the world that has been used to coming and going and
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create a relationship and hedge their bet. apart from the human tragedies that are in there, your heart breaks. and spoke to his wife right before he went on this mission and died in a helicopter crash and it reminds you of the human cost of this effort and logistical challenges of the effort. >> did this book make you regret or an approach on afghanistan? >> it reminds us of the challenges of it. at the end of the day, afghanistan is important and important for multiple reasons. you don't want to create a safe haven in afghanistan for people to be able to come back and reconstitute the taliban. but it's also about pakistan. to an unstable afghanistan where elements are organized is a danger to pakistan and its nuclear capability and they are concerned about that as well.
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the raid against bin laden couldn't have happened. the future matters in terms of regional stability. i'm cautious about the way we disengage, if we do so in a counterproductive way it will be a setback. all the treasure that has been spent will be for naut. >> what do you think of president obama? >> i have spoken to him for a few times and gracious to call me when my daughter was injured a few weeks ago as did the vice president. >> your 12-year-old daughter, how is she doing? >> doing great and no lasting effects. i have deep admiration for the way he has been able to balance the hardest job in the world, his moss important job as father and husband and as a man and role model, i have deep policy disagreements with the president and that's why i'm grateful we
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have a republic. >> what have you learned from him as his role as father? >> they did a great job as clinton did, and raising two girls under an intense bubble and the way he divides up his time. he has never missed a parent-teacher conference. if the president of the united states has never missed a parent-teacher conference, we shouldn't either. >> you have drawn parallels between him and fidel castro. >> i never said that. castro never been elected to anything, never run for office or put his name in front of anyone. that's not what i have ever said. i have drawn parallels between where government dominates the economy and where the president and some in his party wants to take us. cuba isn't just about going --
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getting beat up on the side of a church because you dared to speak out against the government. i'm not drawing that parallel. >> do you feel less free than you did four years ago? >> our future economic options are being significantly diminished by some of the choices that have been made by the president and his party. i'll give you a real world example and i talked about this last night, i'm blessed to have a chance at a federal savings account, federal savings account for health care and i wish more americans had those. i use it to pay my co-payment when i take my kids to the hospital or pay for dentists. under obamacare, instead of saving $5,000, i can only save
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$2,500. i have to get a doctor's prescription to pay it with my f.s.a. and that's the law of the land and it has been counterproductive. but i hope we can change that. >> do you think we're less free? >> we are going to be less prosperous. and the biggest problem that we face, there is no long-term solution to our long-term debt problem and scaring people from investing in america because they are afraid the longest this goes, the higher likelihood of massive tax increases to pay for it. 20 years ago we may have had more flexibility. there are a lot of countries open and friendly to businesses and firms are finding they would rather be here but if it gets too uncomfortable they will go somewhere else. we need to make sure they stay here or come back. >> behind the curtain, we were told we are going to spend the
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next couple of years about accomplishments and middle-class agenda and immigration -- >> that's the job of the senators of legislative accomplishments. >> and then after the mid-term election of 2014, after that, you would make a decision about whether to run for president. what would it take for you to run for president? 2016? >> i enjoy public service and i know this is the answer that everybody gives, but i don't know how long i can be in public service, but i enjoy public service. and i think what as i as a person, do i want to continue to do that as a senator or return to the private sector and give someone else a shot. do you feel the calling or the fire, not because people tells you you should do something. can your family life sustain it. some of my kids will be entering
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their teenaged years and those are pretty challenging times, all these things are real factors. and then part of it is do you have something to say, because you only do something like that when you have something some to say. >> you have something to say. >> is it in the senate or some other capacity. i have a job now and do the best i can do now, because i have learned from watching others and myself if you do a good job at your job, you have other opportunities to present themselves. i never thought i would be a u.s. senator. i never had any ambition for federal office but it presented itself partially as a result of the things i was able to accomplish when i was speaker of the floor of the house. that same principle applies. i may be the commissioner of the nfl. i keep putting it out there. >> you will have to fight for
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it. >> it's a competitive process. >> are you likely to run for president? >> i don't know. what i should focus on is being a real good u.s. senator and moving forward on public policy and in a few years, i will have an opportunity to decide. run for something else or go home and give someone else a shot. >> we are about to get the hook here, why did mitt romney lose florida? >> florida is a competitive state. do not underestimate -- just the political observer, the genius of the obama turnout machine. there is a restaurant near the church we go to, the catholic church, there is a storefront and the obama for president folks were saying, what are they doing, 15 months, what could they be doing? now we know. and so -- >> registering voters.
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>> identifying voters in ways that had never been done before. i can't wait to copy it. and we need to improve it and bring it forward. and i think from a factor set, florida is a state that people are anxious about the future and their opportunity to either stay in the middle class or get to the middle class. at the end of the day, we didn't do a good enough job of convincing people that our ideas are were the right ideas. >> what can republicans learn from the obama campaign? >> whoever has the high ground on technology is going to win both warfare and politics and we can't allow that to happen again. one lesson is you want to make sure from a perspective you are communicating your message to people and ensuring not only they are supporters but also
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voters. >> how do you regain the technological high ground? >> investing in it. it's there and can be done. the technology of 2012 was amazing and 2016 is indescribable. has to be invested in and priority. the chairman inherited a party that had financial problems and got the party out of a financial hole which didn't create a lot of time and space. part of what we need to do. you need to have a marketing department but you need to have a good production department. you need to have good policy that you are selling and state of the art methods. >> you personally tweet? >> i try to. but no one has ever sent a tweet on my behalf. i control my own twitter feed because it is authentic and it is about hip-hop and sports. >> you are a dolphins guy?
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>> yeah. they got beat last sunday. >> what devices do you carry? >> iphone. i didn't know if you meant a taser. [laughter] >> i have an iphone. i'm holding the i-pod 1. i think it's the 4. i phone. >> and last question, you wear a lot of hats, one of your hats is football coach for your son anthony. >> we lost in the first round. it wasn't my fault. we didn't give up a pass, neither was one attempted, to be fair. i had a great time. my seven-year-old first year playing tackle football. it was great. >> we have a lot of coaches here watching. how do you connect with seven
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year olds? >> the most important thing you can do is teach them the fundamentals of the sport. and if you can teach a kid early on catch a ball, hold the ball right and tackle, you will have fun. if you don't do that, once they pick up habits, it's difficult to break later. i have spent a lot of time how to tackle appropriately and right way to tackle. >> and make it fun for them, how do you do that? >> the great thing about competitive sports in football it forces you to work with other people to accomplish the goal. very little you can do by yourself. you can be the best running back in the world but if your blocks aren't executed -- you can be wide open. that applies to life and the ability to work with others in a competitive environment is a huge life skill.
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competitive sports and the extraordinary game of american football. >> what do you want for christmas? >> at least an 8-8 record by the dolphins. i know i should aim higher. >> mrs. rubio, happy birthday. we appreciate you being here. thank you for being here and thankful to the bank of america. and thank you for coming out early. senator rubio for a fantastic conversation. [applause] captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> president obama addressed a group of corporate executives today in washington. he talked about negotiations with congressional republicans on deficit reduction and the so-called fiscal cliff.
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>> the holdup right now is that speaker boehner took a position -- i think the day after the campaign -- that said we're willing to bring in revenue, but we aren't willing to increase rates. and i just explained to you why we don't think that works. we're not trying to -- we're not insisting on rates just out of spite or any kind of partisan bickering. but rather because we need to raise a certain amount of revenue. now we have seen some movement over the last several days among some republicans. i think there's a recognition that maybe they can accept some rate increases as long as it's combined with serious
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entitlement reform and additional spending cuts. and if we can get the leadership on the republican side to take that framework, to acknowledge that reality. then the numbers actually aren't that far apart. another way of putting this is, we can probably solve this in about a week. it's not that tough. but we need that breakthrough that says we need to do a balanced plan and that's what's best for the american economy and that's what the american people voted for and that's how we are going to get it done. there have been reports and these are not necessarily confirmed and maybe some of you have more insight than i do on this, that perhaps the republicans go ahead and let the middle-class tax cuts get
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extended, the upper-income tax cuts go up, otherwise, we don't get a deal and next year we come back and the thinking is at republicans will have more leverage because there will be another debt ceiling and try to extract a stronger hand on the debt ceiling. i have to just tell you that is a bad strategy for america. it's bad strategy for your businesses and this is not a game that i will play. most of you were involved in discussions and watched the catastrophe that happened in august of 2011. everybody here is concerned about uncertainty. there's no uncertainty like the prospect that the united states of america, the largest economy that holds the world reserve
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currency potentially defaults on its debts. that we give up the basic notion that the united states stands behind its obligations. and we can't afford to go there again. it's not just my opinion but the opinion of most of the folks in this room. when i hear some on the other side suggesting that to resolve the possibility of a quarterly debt ceiling crisis, that there is a price to pay, the price is paid by the american people and your businesses and economic environment worldwide. we should not accept going through that. john engler, he and i don't philosophically agree -- i'm being honest about john, but he
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comes from the other party but he is exactly right when he said that the only thing that debt ceiling is good for as a weapon is to destroy your credit rating. so i want to send a very clear message to people here, we aren't going to play that game next year. if congress in any way suggests that they are going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, which by the way, we have never done in our history until we did it last year, i will not play that game. because we have to break that habit before it starts. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> you can see more of president obama's remarks tonight on c-span at 9:00 eastern.
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house speaker john boehner called on the white house to respond to the republicans' deficit proposal released earlier this week. at 8:00 eastern, more on the so-called fiscal cliff with chris van hollen as well as senator bob corker and senator mark warner and spoke today at a forum. you can see that at 8:00 eastern tonight on c-span. the senate foreign relations subcommittee on africa held a hearing on the instability on mally. -- mali.
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>> i call this hearing to order. i will be joined by my friend and ranking member, senator isakson of georgia and we expect other senators to join but it is timely for us to proceed. i'm grateful for the support of the committee and hard work of my staff in making possible today the first time we will have a witness testify directly from a foreign country which is the subject of a hearing and i hope that will contribute to an ongoing process of trying to expand the range and scope of testimony included in these hearings. today's focus is on mali. there are three crises occurring there, security, political and a humanitarian crisis, all three of which threaten security in africa and require the attention of the u.s. government and the
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world. we convened this hearing to discuss a path forward to restore democracy, to reclaim the north, to stabilize the security situation and to address ongoing how -- humanitarian needs. i welcome senator isakson and thank our witnesses for sharing their insight and expertise. earlier this year, an ethnic rebelion staked its claim on the northern 2/3 in this country and left a vacuum that was exploited by islamic extremists. al qaeda and two affiliated groups control the area in northern mali, largest territory controlled by islamic extremists. the current approach may not be comprehensive and
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forward-leaning enough to address these difficult and come flex issues. we will examine u.s. policy in the three areas with the goal of providing recommendations for a path forward. we'll assess revolving plans for an intervention in northern mali and goal of elections and restoring democracy. there is growing concern that they will leverage their safe haven to carry out training and advanced plans for terrorist attacks making mali in the words of secretary clinton a powder keg of instability. the u.n. security council will vote in coming weeks authorizing military intervention by the african union. other interventions have provided a model for multi
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lateral that allow the united states and our allies to provide operational support without boots on the ground. this intervention will take time and stability cannot be restored through military action alone. this is governance and security. the long-running grievances of the political vacuum in the south must be addressed through diplomacy and rebuilding democratic institutions and government. any agreement that attempts to peel off groups currently aligned will require a credible government to do so. elections are the key to not only resolving and restoring assistance but for reclaiming control of the north and democracy. >> while challengeses cannot be addressed as the u.n. secretary general's report suggested, the international community must
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address these crises at the same time and move forward with elections that might exclude participation of northerners. such an election could be a victory for al qaeda and further entrench those who try to establish a permanent state in the north. this conflict has caused humanitarian, security and challenges and 400,000 people are displaced and exacerbated in a food crises and people are needing food and rampant human rights abuses in northern mali adding to the instability, which include executions, amputations as well as violations of women's rights, children he's rights and speech and religion. to provide insight on our path forward and discuss this, we have put forward two panels.
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we have johnny carson and deputy assistant secretary to mali. we will hear from the regional director of the national democratic institute and then senior researcher in the african division of the human rights watch. and independent policy researcher. and vice president of the lobbying network for northern mali. they will be testifying via web cast to provide a firsthand web cast. i look forward to hearing from these two panels and turn to senator isakson. >> thank you, mr. chairman and i commend you for calling this hearing. you and i traveled about a year
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and a half ago. and there are a lot of democracies. we saw what happened when we had free democratic elections and transition of power. and our interest here today is to explore ways the united states can be of help to bring about free and fair elections and return all of mali back to a democraticically represented country has it has been in the last 20 years until the coup which caused the current problems of the the united states has played a significant role in africa in many areas where there were problems. the sudan, where because of the united states' involvement, diplomatic involvement brought about a process of five years that brought about the free elections in the south and creation of the newest independent state in the world, south sudan. the united states can play a great role and it's important to understand the issues that
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affect us and what we can do to help. of a personal help, i have concern any time al qaeda takes advantage of a vacuum or flows into an area because of poverty or lack of governance. that's what's happened in the north. al qaeda is present to the extent they are present, we don't know for sure and i'm anxious to talk about that. but that is a point of concern for the people in the united states. i commend you on calling the hearing and i look forward to hearing from the witnesses and thank you for testifying today. >> let's begin with our first panel. assist ant secretary carson. >> thank you, mr. chairman for this opportunity to testify before you on this important subject. i also want to recognize the ranking member, senator isakson for his interest also in issues
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related to africa. mali's march 2012 military coup ended two decades of mali democracy and resulted in the loss of the northern mali to extremist groups and furet destabilized an already fragile region. mali is facing four overlapping challenges, restoring democracy, negotiating a political solution to the rebelion, countering the threat from al qaeda in the islamic area and responding to an ongoing humanitarian crisis. mali, it's partners and the international community must respond to each of these challenges at the same time. without addressing each of these
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issues, mali will not be able to make a successful political or economic recovery. mali's first challenge is the restoration of democratic governance. the framework agreement negotiated with the military junta following the march 21 coup, mandates that mali's interim government must organize elections and put in place a legitimate, democraticically elected government by april, 2013. while the interim government has made progress in strengthening governance, preparations for elections are moving slowly. we continue to strongly encourage the government to set a date for the election and develop a road map to a transition to a new dem
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crackically elected government. the united states stands ready to assist in free and fair transparent elections. the interim government should build on the preparations that were undertaken before the aborted april, 2012 elections and hold elections by april, 2013, with as many voters as possible. the united states looks forward to working with the interim government and the international community to examine the best mechanisms to ensure that voters from all regions of mali, including those in refugee camps and neighboring countries can participate in national elections. as mali moves through its current political transition, we have been clear and unequivocal in our messages to the coop leader and the public about the
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need for the captain to leave the political stage and to be held accountable for human rights abuses committed while he was in control. we have imposed targeted travel sanctions on the captain and more than 60 other individuals who were involved in the coup or who continue to impede the restoration of democracy. the united states government has also formally terminated its assistance to the government of mali except for programs providing humanitarian assistance in health care and food security. we will maintain these kinds of pressures until mali transitions to a new democraticically elected government. elections and the restoration of mali's democraticic institutions are critical for ensure that the government of mali has the
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legitimacy and credibility that it needs to negotiate with its northern populations and coordinate effectively with regional and international partners to defeat the ongoing rebel john in northern mali by the tour egg -- the tourag community is a second factor contributing to their problems. the goth must recognize and address the he swrit mat political and social and economic grievances of this community. the united states commends the efforts of african leaders, including president kapuri, facilitate dialogue between the interim government and northern groups that accept mali's
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territorial integrity and reject terrorism. we support the commitment of interim president -- of the interim president to open a dialogue with those actors in the north who support their integrity. we also reject the news that the group then as yemen l.a. have retracted their support of independence of the north an that they have declared their readytons negotiate with the interim government. these political negotiations should be pursued diligently. mali's interim government must demonstrate its commitment to negotiations by appointing a lead negotiator for the north. the lead government must also find a way to address legitimate
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northern grievances in a pieceful manner. the touerag are not terrorists and their problems should be resolved peacefully, not through military actions. the participation of algeria and mauritania, which are not members of the group are also crucial in finding a solution to the malian problem. later this week, a delegation of u.s. officials, including deputy secretary of state william burns, will be javeling to algiers to encourage the algerians to play a more active role in addressing the political and security problems in northern mali. secretary clinton was in algeria to discuss mali among other issues approximately a month ago. the third challenge in mali is terrorism. we are gravely concerned about
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the presence and activities of terrorists and extremist groups in northern mali. al qaeda in the islamic magrab, the movement for unity and jihad in west africa known as mujoa and other affiliated groups have exploited the political unrest created by the march coup and the northern rebellion to expand their safe havens in northern mali and to impose their ideology on local communities throughout the northern part of the country. while these tactics remain alien to the vast majority of the population in the affected areas, aqim and majoa have established at least temporary relationships with a number of groups in northern mali and currently control the key cities of timbuktu, and nidal.
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any attempt to militarily oust aqim from the area must be african-led, it must be malian-led. it must be well planned, well organized and well resourced to be successful. military plans must also account for civilian security and humanitarian need. we support the efforts of the interim government of mali, ecowas, the african union, the united nations, neighboring states and others in the international community to prepare a military response in accordance with international law, address the threat of terrorists and extremists in northern mali. the threat of military force has contributed, we think, to a change in some of the northern groups, as witnessed by the recent willingness to have mnla
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and other members to renounce their efforts to establish an independent state in northern mali. the military concept proposed by ecowas and endorsed by the african union provides a found eags for planning a proposed military intervention in northern mali. however, several key questions must be answered to ensure that this response is well planned, well resourced, and appropriate. these issues include among other things the required force levels, the cost in funding needs, the logistical requirement the operational timeliness, the protection of civilians and ensuring that the proposed military action is adequately linked to a political strategy and an end state for
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military operations in the north. we have sent military planners to ecowas to assist with the continued developments and refinement of the plans for international intervention. as the planning continues, we expect that many of the outstanding questions that i have raised that we have raised as a government will in fact be answered. we also continue to engage actively in new york with the u.n. and other international partners in preparation for the ongoing u.n. security council discussions on a resolution on military intervention in the north. as plans develop for the military operation, we will be better able to determine how the united states can best support ecowas and the a.u. elements in this effort. mali's neighbors have intensified their ongoing efforts to bolster their own
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security and to address the aqim safe haven in northern mali. algeria, mortarian -- mauritania and niger are all deeply concerned that any intervention in the area will cause a spillover of extremist intoss their own country. these governments strongly favor a political dialogue before any intervention. we ourselves are assisting mauritania and niger as well as some other eight other states in the region through the counterterrorism partnership program, tsctp. this program is designed to help build long-term capacity to counter and marginalize terrorist organizations, disrupt efforts to recruit, train and provision extremists and to build up the capacities of the states in the region.
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however, lasting resolution to the terrorist threat will require that the countries in the sahal develop the capacity to counter aqim along with other transnational threats like drug smuggling and human trafficking. the fourth crisis in the region is one of humanitarian proportions. the humanle to of these overlapping challenges has been enormous. since the start of the fighting in northern mali, more than 410,000 people have become refugees or internally displaced. of these, nearly 200,000 people are displaced within mali alone and more than 200,000 maliians have fled to niger, mauritania and other areas. algeria also hosts large populations of maliian refugees.
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in an effort to mitigate the evens of the complex humanitarian crisis, we are providing humanitarian food assistance to those displaced in the reswron. in 2012, the united states government provided some 445 -- some $445 million in assistance to the region. $119 million of which was in support of emergency needs within mali and among refugee populations outside of mali. the humanitarian response should remain a civilian-led effort in order to ensure neutral and impartial character to the humanitarian operations. we have encouraged greater international cooperation and coordination in developing a comprehensive approach to mea lee's multiple crises and the greater sahel.
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the recent appointment of a special envoy for the sa hembings l will help provide the needed facilitation and coordination. we will discuss the drafting of the secretary general's integrated strategy at a meeting in rome this friday. it is important that the next u.n. security council resolution be based in part on the u.n. secretary general's recent report to the security council on mali and that the restoration of democracy, political negotiations with the touareg and the humanitarian response receive the same level of priority as any discussions about military interventions against aqim. all four of these challenges must be met simultaneously.
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ecowas clearly has an important role to play in assisting mali. five of the nation's 15 member states share borders are mali. though they are not ecowas members, nigeria also shares a long border with them and have a stake. they require comprehensive sustained and dedicated engagement. we in washington are committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of mali and support inclusive dialogue and negotiations to address the economic and social needs of the marginalized populations in the north, especially the toureg.
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including efforts to dislodge the drifts. we will address the humanitarian crisis as well. i have a much longer statement which i have submitted to you for the record but again thank you for this opportunity to testify and thank you, mr. chairman, an thank you senator isaacson for your keen interest in this issue. thank you. thank you secretary carson for your service and your active and effective engagement with the
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region over such a long period. we are always grateful to have your testimony. next we turn to assistant administrator for africa, earl gas. >> thank you for inviting me to speak before you today. i submitted a longer statement for the record but thought i would use my time to give you an update on what's going on and outline some key factors of what's needed to progress. 14,000 persons in mali are in need of assistance suffering from high food prices and conflict. nearly 200,000 have been displaced within the country and 210,000 have fled to other countries. access remains negotiated on a case by case basis and it is
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often very inconsistent. moving forward, a necessary component for solving mali's complex crises is the establishment of a democratcally elected government by april 20 13, as called for by ecowas. the government must pursue elections. to do this successfully a legitimate process is needed to maximize the participation of populations displaced by the violence. it is also necessary to develop provisions for how the north will be meaningfully included in a new government and to engage the broader population in a dialogue about reconciliation. prior to the coup, they efforts included growing the agricultural sector, managing
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instability and threats in the north and mali had made significant gains in these areas. annual economic growth averaged more than 5% across the past decade. we -- reducing the incidence of poverty from 56% to 44% by 2010. that was over a period of about 10 years. mali liberalized its cereal markets, opened up trade routes and improved cons for doing business. what we have seen is that agricultural production has increased, particularly in areas where u.s. support has been active. as a result of the coup in march in mali, the u.s. government terminated assistance to the government of mali. however our efforts to address the food and medical needs of the people of mali continue. in determines what programs can move forward, we consider whether they provide essential life-saving assistance, whether they support children,
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strengthen food security or advance u.s. foreign policy. we also consider operational issues including efficient management and oversight. this case by case analysis ensures that there is careful consideration of the context surrounding a proposed activity. before the coup, usaid was the largest donor supporting leches in mali. programs trained poll workers and improved elections monitoring systems, strengthened political parties and provided voter education. when the electoral support activities resumed, providing the consent of congress, it will help support free an fair elections in mali and a peaceful political exit from the current situation. a key issue will be ensuring the inclusion and participation of the internally displaced personals and refugees in the political process. we plan to expand our elections assistance programming to include broader civic engagement
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activities, to support national reconciliation as part of the return to an inclusive democratic maliian society. the only usaid supported economic growth activities that are continuing in mali are those that address food security under the feed the future initiative. agricultural assistance has focused on supporting farmers and herders to support -- to increase their productivity, strengthen market linkages and increase resilience to drought. some health sector activities have been aproved to continue including those improving maternal and child mortality through basic community health services, malaria support and treatment and other critical community based health interventions. our approach to development programming is affected by the current political and security situation in mali and how it develops. usaid's office of transition initiatives recently conducted an assessment to determine the
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feasibility and appropriateness of a transition program in mali. if initiated, this program would allow the u.s. government to respond to any opportunities and challenges that arise in the course of the transition, particularly in the areas of peace and security and reconciliation. the ability of the united states to resume full assistance will depend on a democratically elected government taking office. usaid continues to monitor humanitarian needs and plan for possible future needs in mali. since the crisis in april, u.s. ate has provided nearly $80 million to address needs among maliians affected by drought and conflict. while initial harvest projections are positive for this year, the most vulnerable will continue to need additional assistance for recovery an resilience to future shock. in the north we'll continue to respond to needs when and where access allows. while usaid can provide
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immediate relief to the people, help set the foundation for democratic elections and provide basic social services in the interim, mali's future development must be led by the maliian people. this can only be achieved through a duly elected participatory government against a background of pess and stability. accordingly, it's critical that the government of mali and the maliian people be encouraged to pursue a simultaneous and multipronged approach to the return to democracy and peace. none of these gains will be sustainable in the absence of the other. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and i welcome any questions you might have. >> thank you, assistant administrator gast. next, ms. amanda dorry. >> i add my thanks about the opportunity to speak about the
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challenges in mali and how the u.s. department of fit swoose this situation. the department of defense is concerned about instability in mali and is working closely with our interagency partners to strengthen efforts at countering aqim and affiliates as well as supporting maliian efforts to restore territorial sovereignty. our approach is to support mali's neighbors, to isolate the terrorist threat and to enable ecowas and others to degrade aqim while working to enhance maliian sovereignty. this is consistent with the appropriations act which prescribes certain assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected government is edeposed as a result of a coup. slult the coup, d.o.d. has ceased working with the maliian military.
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there's an ongoing rebellion that's the fourth rebellion since mali gained their independence. the flow of arms from other countries has made it hard for the country to respond. ecowas has brokered and agreement with the parties to establish an interim government but captain sunogo continues to influence decision making in mali. northern mali has become a safe haven for extremists and terrorist groups including aqim and affiliates. as the government lost control of its northern territorys, these groups took over administration of northern cities and began imposing a harsh version of sharia law.
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this expanded safe haven and control of territory allows al qaeda and affiliates to recruit supporters more easily. it also gives them greater control other ill list trafficking networks that provide an important element of their funding. beyond the obvious threat to mali and its citizen the growing terrorist presence in mali threatens u.s. citizens in the region to include the ability to attack embassies and conduct kidnapping operations. although aqim has not demonstrated an ability to attack targets, it has a history of attacks in magreb and expressed an intent to target europe. the u.s. is focused on security in mali, it will require democratic election a legitimate settlement of northern greeranses, restoration of
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maliian sovereignty and continuing the civilian-led response to the humanitarian situation. the department of defense is working with african partners to enable ecowas to enable military planning for a national force. this is very much an african led process. our efforts are aimed at making our partners more capable so that combating the terrorist threat in their territories and providing better security for their people more generally. the worstening situation in mali also poses a risk to the surrounding governments in the in the region, especially mauritania and niger. the transsiberian -- transis a ha ran partnership allows us to counter aqim. the department of defense, usaid and others work closely to coordinate our capacity building efforts to ensure unity of effort with the 10 participating
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partners which ebb collude mali and its neighbors. ecowas with the forth of -- support of other partners is planning for military intervention in northern mali in tandem with the african union's work on a strategic concept for the resolution of the crisis in mali. department of defense through u.s. africa commabbed is actively supporting the military planning effort through the provision of planning expertise. the broad strategic concept for that deployment is sound. more specific planning is under way to address the myriad operational details. the u.s. government is exploring options for supporting countries that contribute forces to the ecowas mission. this could include the provision of training and equipment to clints that would contribute fores to deploy as part of the international military force and additional planning and advidsery support. i'll stop for now and look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much, deputy
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assistant secretary for africa dory. i look forward to speaking more about this complex and challenging situation. first on the question of sequencing. all three of you. you spoke to the interrelated an complex challenges on the path toward restoring democracy dealing with humanitarian issues, addressing historic grievances in the north and resolving security concerns in the north. secretary carson, i think you said in your testimony, our response to any one of these challenges must not be dependent upon the achievement of another. yet they seem inextricably intertwined for reasons of our own laws which i support, we've ceased aid and cut off vital aid that will make more difficult in some ways the accomplishment of the security objective, the electoral objectives. please, if you would, in turn, just explain how you see the sequencing of events, elections, addressing regional and historic
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grievance in the north. restoration of basic humanitarian support and regional planning and execution under an ecowas-maliian led effort. how do these three things move forward and is it possible to move forward on a security resolution without an election? >> mr. chairman, a very good question. we have said that these four challenges must be handled simultaneously and in parallel. they must all be considered critical and they all must be considered important. addressing some of these challenges along onen lane will move faster than along another lane. but we should not hold any one
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of these programs or efforts or streams of activity hostage to the success or the completion of another. for example, we have to move forward in continuing to provide humanitarian service and assistance to the north, to displaced populations, to the extent that we have access to them through n.g.o.'s and through the international community and we are doing that. we are continuing to push as hard as we can for political negotiations between tow regular -- toe regular group and nonterrorist -- tuareg groups
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and nonterrorist groups in the north. we are moving forward with discussions about military planning and preparation. and primarily on the democracy front, we do think that it's absolutely critical that the government not lose sight in putting down a strategy, a road map, and a timetable for the return to democracy in that country. i mention this last because in many ways, it's critically important. if in fact there are going to be successful political negotiations with the tuareg and the other northern groups who have political and social economic grievances they have to have a legitimate government
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that they can rely on to fulfill these agreements. this has been a failure in the past, negotiations and deals have been made with the tuareg and others and the government has reneged on them. there needs to be a creditable government to be sure that these things are going to be done. equally, while we move ahead and work with ecowas and the international community on an african-led response to the terrorist problem in the north against a.q.i.m. -- against aqim and extremist groups, in the end, even if these terrorist groups are pushed out and eliminated, there will need to be a creditable government capable of extending services and providing security and
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authority over the areas that are recaptured from the north. so there's a centrality and -- in all of this. there also needs to be a creditable government there to be able to deliver humanitarian response and to build up resilience against recurring droughts and food shortages. all in parallel, simultaneously, one -- western not hold the continued movement toward democracy hostage to the success of the military operations, we should not hold military operations and planning hostage to the complegs of the restoration of democracy but we must keep all four of these things clearly as pobtives -- objectives and goals moving simultaneously toward them. >> let me foal low -- follow up with a more focused question about elections. in order to have a government that's credible in terms of
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negotiations some resolution to historic grievances that have led to four tuareg rebellions, highway critical is it to have northern participation in the election and how is it possible to have meaningful northern participation in the election with 400,000 i.d.p.'s and refugees and with a very unstable security situation in the north. these two team inextricably intertwined an very difficult. so briefly, how do you include northern participation in the election? >> it can be done and would have been done in april 2012. the coup in march occurred approximately six weeks before national elections were to be held. they would have been difficult elections in the north but they could have in fact occurred. it's important to remember both a little bit about the geography
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as well as the population distribution. although some 55% of the northern has been taken over by the rebel john -- rebellious groups, only 10%, only 10% of mali's population lives in the northern part of the country. some 90% of the population would have been able to carry on with elections. but we also realize it is important not to execute the north but to include the north. even today, it is possible to accommodate many, many of the northerners. we estimate that something in the neighborhood of 800,000 to
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one million people are residing in the north. we think that probably -- resided in the north. half of that population, as we've talked about, has in fact left, approximately 400,000 people. 200,000 dispersed in refugee camps in the region, particularly in mauritania, where one camp has 110,000 maliians. there are approximately 30,000 or 40,000 in niger and 200,000 dispersed to the south. if there were elections, the elections could be held in the mauritania refugee camp, supervised by the unacr are with
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their assistance. this has happened before in other polices. and those who are in the south as displaced persons could also be identified so that they could vote. it's not ideals, but in fact it could occur. historically, the north has voted in a smaller percentage than -- of the population than any of the other zone and we skiment that -- that it in the last national elections accounted for a very, very large -- small percentage of the national turnout. the north must be included because we believe that aside from the aqim threat, there is a legitimate concern that people
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in the north have not benefited the way people in the south have from education, from health care, infrastructure, so they must be accommodated because this is important, but we don't think that the movement toward the restoration of democracy should be held hostage to a complete military victory in the north. that's a date that is uncertain and we may not know it. and there were -- it was tremendous instability across the north during the last national elections as well. >> thank you. i'm going to turn to senator isaacson for the next set of questions. >> ms. dori -- ms. dory, i have
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a question for you, which i understand i may need to receive the answer to in a secure area, which i would be happy to do so. you say aqim retains the ability to attack western areas and attack westerners and kidnap them for ransom. do we have any evidence that al qaeda was responsible for the attack in benghazi? >> aqim played a role, the discussions are under way about how aqim members interacted with others and those are questions better left to a closed session. >> we'll try to arrange that at an appropriate period of time. on that same point you acknowledge that u.s.-africa command is coordinating with ecowas on planning for an
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intervention in the north. i guess that should be said, a potential intervention in the north. is that correct? >> it's correct to say that the intervention is not planning phases at this point. the intervention would be led by the maliian armed forces with support from the international military force. there is no construct or intention of having a u.s. boots on the ground type of support to that intervention but at this point we're providing planning support exclusively and we'll look at opportunities to provide support to those partners with whom we can engage. >> your statement said the mission will have kuhl objectives of establishing maliian sovereignty and confronting al qaeda. do you think the people you're
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training will be sufficiently capable of taking on a force like al qaeda? >> for any military force to succeed is a combination of train, equiping, and will. i believe the countries -- in the region are demonstrating the will and intent to intervene. they are certainly capable to do some of the related missions and for those that additional training and equiping is required that's the role of the international community to provide that support. >> thank you very much. ambassador carson thank you as always for your tireless efforts on the behalf of -- on behalf of the african people and the united states interests in africa. i spreesht -- i appreciate the great job you do on the question raised by senator coons regarding elections and your statement that it's absolutely essential that the north be included in those elections, i think that's what you said. i agree with that. we have a recommendation, i haven't talked this over with the chairman yet, but i think i'm right. he can tell me if i'm wrong.
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there was a man in nigeria, his name was jagr, i'd get him over there and get him to help he overcame similar obstacles of the violence and it was in the north where they had problems in nigeria, i want to throw that out as a possible help. mr. gast, on -- we got a bunch of people hungry because we had a famine in mo lee, particularly in the north. since the coup have we been disrupted from getting humanitarian aid to people in mali? >> initially i would say that that was the case. there was a period where no humanitarian assistance was being delivered. since then, since the early months, our partners who are operating in the north have been able to negotiate access. for the most part the population in need, their needs are being met. and so in addition to the
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displaced persons, whether refugees or internally displaced persons, as well as those still residing in the north, the needs are being met. >> has the coup in the north caused a refugee problem in any of the bordering countries? have there been people who left mali because of the disruption? >> yes, roughly 210,000 persons. >> and where have they gone? >> mainly to mauritania, the majority have gone into mauritania and then a sizable population going into niger. >> is usaid assisting in those camps? >> we are put primarily through p.r.m. >> that stands for? >> state department population refugee and migration bureau. >> more acronyms than anybody
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heard. >> the short answer is yes, the needs are beinged me. >> -- being met. >> and the goal is to have elections by april, is that right? >> by april or as soon as technically feasible. >> i just ask this question and get you to just opine on it, it's not a specific question. if you have a 20-year successful democracy in west africa, which mali was, then you have a coup, thins leading up to that coup had to take place to create a degree of instability and those things are probably still present to a certain extent and need to be overcome for an election. do you know what led to the deterioration of the democracy that caused the coup? >> the approximate cause of the -- the proximate cause of the coup was the series of military defeats that occurred in the north. these were military defeats at
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the hands of the tuare dwmbings. the military -- of the tuareg. the military felt very strongly that it was being under resourced, that it was not being given the kind of equipment and material support that it required to go after the tuareg rebels and to fight a successful military campaign. the tuareg, of course, were fighting because they felt that the government had not -- had not fulfilled its obligations under the last agreement signed in algiers in 2006. this combined with growing
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discontent among some elite in the south with the corruption of the outgoing government under former president -- under the former president were probably the reasons for the coup d'etat. military discontent and elite disaffection in the south with corruption and poor governance and poor delivery of services. >> so africa's biggest developmental problem, which is corruption, is still alive and well in mali is that correct? >> indeed, i think that the former president, toward the end of his administration, was not
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resolving, and he was not responding effectively to crises in his own country. i think that he probably had begun to tune out, had not focused sufficiently on the economic and social issues in the south and had neglected deeply the issues throughout the north. his leadership was starting to flag, his interests had flagged and he was not doing a very effective -- effective or energetic job. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> snoort isakson will go to a second round of questions. first to deputy assistant secretary dory, what's the feasibility of plans to train and restructure a sfors of -- a
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force of 5,000 maliian armed forces, as was just referenced, the proximate cause of the coup was a series of military defeats the capacity of the maliian armed forces as a critical first step. what's the feasibility of that? under what time lyn is it possible to stand up a maliian security force that could actually meaningfully contribute to taking the north and if elections were held what kind of role white the u.s. be prepeared to play directly in training or supporting or equiping the maliian forces rather than regional partners? >> in terms of feasibility, i think that's the key dimension in the planning process, which is at what point do your missions align with your proposed concept of maneuver in alignment with the force generation process and you don't engage until you've assessed the feasibility in a situation of
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moderate risk is acceptable to the force on the ground. the feasibility is built into the planning process which continues for very -- we're very fond of quoting former commander in chief general eisenhower in the department when it comes to focusing on the -- preparing for battle, the criticality of the planning processing even above the plan itself. it's that process of bringing the different military components together, identifying the maneuver, what the vulnerabilities are, how those can be address and -- addressed and then interfacing in a robust way with the political process to refer to your second question, i think one of the concerns that we have at this point is that the military intervention planning has moved relatively robustly and is making excellent progress. the political development relatively speaking is
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underdeveloped as far as the political road map is concerned. whether it's the road map to elections as ambassador carson was speaking to or a road map for negotiations between bamaco and disaffected elements in the north that are willing to renounce violence and engage in the negotiations process. obviously if we get to a point of elections being held and being able to resume assistance with the maliian armed forces that will be an important step forward for the united states to be able to directly help the maliian armed forces in addition to support other contributing countries. european union, france, others have all already begun to reengage with maliian armed forces. it's not as if there is absent support for them in the intervening period. >> what lessons have i learned if i might, both ms. dory and mr. gast. we were actively engaged, the
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usaid mission celebrated a 50th anniversary, we were very involved in trying to sustain a culture democracy. whatlesssons are there that we might learn going forward about political failures, ignored domestic issues, our rather abrupt requirement that we break off relations and support here has created a great difficulty with regional consequences. what lessons would you suggest we learn from that? >> thank you, senator. excellent question. i would say in the best of times, mali is in a -- is a country in crisis. when one looks at a human development index, they rank in the bottom dozen. that's -- as assistant secretary carson mentioned, 90% of the population is in the south and that population is also in need of services. and so it is unfortunate that
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the government hasn't included both in the delivery of services vells in the governance of the country, the people of the north. and although we have implemented programs in the north, unless there's a connection between government and individuals, our programs aren't going to have the effect of people feeling as though they're part of society and so there was an effort, an effort planned over the last couple of years, where the development partners in tandem with the government, the central government, would deliver resources to the north. again, with the government in the lead and with donors supporting. unfortunately, the pace of that was too slow. and not very effective. another point moving forward i think is that we do need to concentrate on decentralization. and making connections between
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government, delivery of services and the individual at the community level. >> to build further on the comments about the resource base within mali, clearly there are difficult choices for the government there involved between guns versus better types of decisions and the resources for the maliian armed forces was insufficient, relatively speaking to the building threat that they now face vis-a-vis aqim. i think in terms of the u.s. support to the maliian military, we provide training and equipment for many years now but in relatively modest quantities and i don't think that level of resources -- resourcing was commensurate with the threat either. i think the lesson learned for us is to look beyond the tactical level of training, excuse me, provided by the department of defense to consider what ways we might also
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engage in terms of institutional development with defense institutions and that's something in the last several years where we are really ramping up within the department the ability to provide advisors and other types of institutional reform engagement with various military partners to ensure that just as we're looking at strengthening at the tactical level, we're also focusing on the institutional strength of these defense institutions. >> let me ask a last question and then i'll turn to senator isaacson. can we afford to wait what may well be a year for train plan, train, assembly of a regional force for the completion of negotiations for successful election in some -- in some press accounts, aqim in mali is deveebed as the best funded,
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best equipped mosley that will a.q. affiliate in the world. perhaps those accounts are overblown but the suggestion that we should have an area the size of texas controlled by terrorists engaged in drug trafficking, kidnap, that have had an inflow of sophisticated weaponry from libya is to some quite concerning. can we afford to wait a year for regional solution or is that the only way to aheave an appropriate security solution? >> i think one of the things that, as we look at the situation on the one hand, your question, can we afford to wait, on the other hand, can we afford not to wait, to allow the political environment to be more conducive to a successful military intervention and to allow the process of force generation to proceed, which does take time to train, equip, and develop a source for its employees. so in a sense we have few
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choices but to allow those processes to unfold, clearly we're concerned that it takes time to do so but i think we have a sense of moving forward with -- as rapidly as feeze, as rapidly as the circumstances will allow us to do so, recognizing the tremendous leadership that the african partners have already shown both in terms of political dynamics and the initiatives that are supporting this planning process at present. >> thank you. senator isaacson? >> i have just one question. ms. dory. if, as secretary carson said, military discontent with the government support was a major contributing factor to the coup, then the military will be a major contributor -- contributing factor to how successful an election is going to be. in your testimony you say there's a sunogo is in charge of
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the reform of the military for the interim government. do you know his capabilities and whether he's capable of pulling off the type of support that it would take to bring the military together to support an election? >> captain sunogo as a field grade officer is certainly capable of -- in terms of the activities that he's already caused of creating a difficult condition by mobilizing others to support a coup. whether he's capable of leading the difficult efforts to restructure an institution and to mobilize the resources that will be required, i would say that i question that at this point. >> thank you very much. that's all my questions. thank you for your testimony, to all of you. >> i'd like to thank our first panel, i'm mindful of the time and we have a four-member second panel, senator isaac -- isakson
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and i are both interested and concerned about this and will follow up with each of you, perhaps with additional questions but actions which are appropriate, ways in which we might work together to support u.s. efforts in what is a very challenging and dynamic security humanitarian, and diplomatic context. thank you very much for your testimony. we'll take a brief break while the second panel comes. i'd like to turn to our second panel now, our second panel will include -- this is our first attempt at live testimony by, is it google -- fwoogle hangout.
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i suspect no one has testified by google hangout, a thing i didn't know existed. my thanks to the technical assistants and the policy support of several very capable folks who made this happen. thank you and welcome and we appreciate your repeat testimony before the subcommittee. >> thank you very much, chairman coons and ranking member isakson. on behalf of the national democratic institute, i look forward to the opportunity to address political developments in mali. mali face there's interwoven crises, a humanitarian emergency in the north which affected 450,000 people, political uncertainty in the capital, and a severe food shortage affecting
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the entire sahara subreregion. if this crisis were allowed to fester, they would have a long-lasting negative impact on mali and west and north africa, particularly countries like niger, mauritania and others which vauvenpo rouse borders. mali's current transition often looks like a three-legged pecktive, buzz of the unclear boundaries between three main actors, the president, the former coup leader sunago who continues to pull levers of power from behind the scenes.
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mali is finding it difficult to achieve its objectives, to reconquer the country's northern region and organize credible elections before may, 2013. when i was there in october, the country seemed to face a conundrum in that some mallians arlingtonned the elections -- argued the leches couldn't be held in a peaceful manner and others believed the government would lose its he jate macy and only legitimate elections could provide them with a credible government. holding elections before may, 2013, would require significant technical and political commitments on the part of
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mallians. increasingly, they're demnding that the military operation in the north not preclude active preparations for national elections. concrete steps would have to be take ton include displaced populations in the electoral process, given that the electoral law of mali allows for mallians residing outside they have -- outside of the country to vote. working with the united nations high commission for refugees that maintains statist exs on displaced persons and refugee the government could allow the new significant population of refugees in neighboring countries and internally displaced persons to vote while trying to free the north. at the same time as logistically challenging as maybe holding elections in northern regions
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would be the strongest signal possible of mali's exercise of sovereignty and early steps at rebilling its democracy. the transition government must continually and clearly communicate government plans and actions to the public and be cognizant of the potential crisis of legitimacy that looms on the horizon once the may, 2013, date lapses. the international community needs to harr monoize its approach to the polls that could lead to a legitimate elected government and could help in the north. . this will will embolden them to enforce their presence. this exascerbates fears that the
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conspiracy to break up their country. support for their rule will boost their role and regional bodies that are deeply invested in the democratic rule. many malians were proud of their country's democracy, and strengthening institutions and enhancing transparency. nine months after the march, 2012 military coup, the false excitement about dramatic change in the early days of the coup has been superseded about the cloud of uncertainty that there is over mali. despite the numerous challenges, i am optimistic that considered effort and the right kind of
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support, malians will be able to rebuild a stronger democracy that works effectively for all of the country's citizens. thank you very much. and i look forward to your questions. >> ms. did you have ca. >> thank you for providing the opportunity to testify this morning. >> since april, i have conducted four research missions to mali and introduced hundreds of victims in the north and government. i have spoken with a wide variety of other individuals, many from the armed faxes from different groups, and religious
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leaders. i'm in daily phone contact with maliians who keep me in contact. this hearing comes at a critical time for the united states as they struggle to put a plan to put mali back together in a way that doesn't turn back the clock to december, 2011. i will characterize our findings on abuses by all faxes. and then highlight four issues the u.s. might consider as it crafts a response and perhaps more importantly, the issues that gave rise to it. with respect to islammist groups, since consolidating their control in the north, they are tightening their grip over the population among whom they have precious little support. abuses committed include severe
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beatings, arbitrary arrests for smoking, drinking, watching television. countless women that i have interviewed have been beaten. they have carried out summary executions including the january execution of some 70 malian soldiers which is the single most serious war crime. they stoned a couple to death for adultery. and they described seeing the man and woman crouched down in a hole as they hosted large rocks to first the woman and then the man and then carried eight leg amputations. these punishments were metted out by the police. these trials can only be described as a cruel parity of
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justice and recruited child soldiers. dozens of witnesses that i have interviewed and a few children have seen these kids in training camps. and in advance of the planned intervention they have ramped up recruitment. a witness i spoke to just yesterday just visited three of these camps which he saw many children. they have shrines which holds tremendous significance for malians. they have denied malians who have a rich musical tradition to listen to local music. quoting one witness, they have erased our history and taking all this from our lives. with respect to the m.l.a., the they have perpetrated abuses after taking over a few towns.
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these included the abduction and brutal rape of numerous women and girls and hospitals, schools, government buildings and use of child soldiers. they have done nothing to keep their forces in. briefly with respect to the malian army, the coup has led to a striking deterioration and discipline and command and control within the army. in the days after the attempted counter coup security forces under captain sunago, implicated hundreds of soldiers. they removed 21. these 21 men and put them bound and blind folded and they have not been heard from since. many other victims of torture described how they were starved and forced at gunpoint to
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sodomize one another. journalists have been abducted, beaten and after being warned to stop criticizing the military. they have tried to abduct and descended upon the home of a local rapper who wrote a song critical of the military. our soldiers have detained numerous men. and in october, eight hearders were executed. again, there has been no meaningful effort to investigate hold accountable in any of these incidents and as others have noted, we have testimony suggesting there is a directly implication. briefly wrch to recommendations
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by one to highlight four areas. and raise abuses. u.s. has to widen that view, widen that criticism of the malian army outside of sunago. the u.s. should press all parties to prosecute all parties . rising ethnic tension. over the last eight months i have observed an alarming increase in ethnic tensions. perceptions of neglect by the army or international community of one community or the other has led communities to seek redress for their grievances including through the formation of armed militias. i cannot emphasize enough how
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impunity for past violations during pass rebel i don't know, sir is fueling this tension on all different sides. it's not addressed, i believe these tensions could in the short-term lead to incidents of deadly punishment. to address this, i urge the u.s. government to do a few things. number one as the negotiation process takes shape, push mali to ensure the grievances are heard, not just those who have taken up arms. the second would be for the government to address the rising level of ethnic tensions. number three, through u.s. aig and sort peace-building initiatives. it should be down now and ensure the situation in mali is discussed by the atrocities
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tension board. the third issue i want to address is adopt policies that address the underlying problems. this is rooted in years of deterioration in the institution, the police, army, the judiciary that should have proper protected them. they turned a blind eye to corruption scandals, criminal atlanta and some predatory behavior and lagging development indicators country wide but especially in the north. mali's judiciary which could have mitigated some of these problems allowed a dangerous culture of impunity and extremists have taken advantage of this rule of law. the united states must support programs in the short and long-term that serve to strengthen mali's institutions. last point is one in advance of the military intervention i urge the u.s. to press for a strong
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human rights component within this military intervention to avoid some of these problems we have seen. >> i'll take a few minutes to highlight my statement but i would like for it to be kept in the record. i mentioned that some issues and the way mallly descended, we have to keep things in mind. one of them is their connection with libya. the rebelion has occurred many
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times, but this particular one did not occur because of incidents -- did not start because of incidents inside mali but weapons that flowed over from libya and interesting that libya does not share a border with mali, but troops and men went all the way. and it seems to me that question should be raised about why they were not seen. mali's army had been trained in the sa harrah terrorism program and collapsed. that raises questions. but the core of my testimony is i am suggesting four improvements in u.s. policy particularly in the state department. mr. chairman, i noticed that there are some people that look at the crises others say four. the international community would be good to actually add a fifth dimension.
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because i think it is important whether three or four, they are inside mali, but the reason why they are concerned is there a real risk this would not be contained within mali. secondly, i think that the state department, if we listen carefully, my reading of the priorities is, well, elections first and by all means and then negotiate. and intervention, maybe. i think that should be the other way around that it is very hard to have real elections with so much insecurity. so the security issue is extremely important and i'm reminded of what happened where it took five years to do an election and still questions were raised. i fear if you rush elections in mali, you are giving people all kipeds of excuses who lose to
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stir up trouble and make allegations. so it is important to establish enough security so the elections can be credible. i also think that while deliver rans must be addressed and minority issues are very important, mali has almost 60 ethnic groups. and so we must be careful it is not seen as reaches, which might suggest to other groups that the way to get attention is to create the same kind of problem and fourth and final area of policy recommendation that i make is actually that i do think since 9/11 and u.s. counterterrorism policy in africa, i think the problem in mali should be an opportunity and occasion to do a thorough
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review of the whole strategy. because, for instance, the transsa harrah counterterrorism issue, its job was to make the malian army strong but it collapsed very quickly. the operation flint lock which used mali as the base to train soldiers, again, it raises a question, why did the mali army collapse so quickly. this is an opportunity to do a very thorough review and raise a lot of questions. my particular question, because i really think that democracy is so important that in the training of african soldiers, i would like it if the respect for civilian leadership and for democracy is stressed, that the first thing the soldiers have to learn is to respect the civilian leaders and the democratic
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process and any training to make them better fighters comes second. i will be happy to answer questions. >> thank you very much. mr. mahmoud, you have been quite patient. you are in bamako at the u.s. embassy and grateful for you taking the time in being quite patient in joining with the six other witnesses we have already heard from. i would like to invite your testimony now. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] >> i'm going to ask one question. just if i could summarize and thank you for your testimony, each of the four members of this panel, the united states has had a long and close relationship with the malian people. we have long supported development security, democracy. the developments over the last year, nearly two years, have been upsetting, disturbing and troubling. we now have a significant area of mali and many of its people
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facing security challenges, legitimacy challenges, human rights, fundamental human rights abuses caused by many different actors and should cause us to reconsider some of our strategic approaches and some of our choices. if each of you had one suggestion for what is the most important thing that we should be taking away from this hearing and pressing for the united states to do, whether to advance human rights, whether to advance a secure and credible election, to advance a regional strategy that is successful or to ensure that we effectively engage with the real human needs of the people of mali, what is your one suggestion for us for our actions going forward. mr. mahmoud, i'll start with you. >> get the election done.
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[inaudible] >> thank you very much. >> my choice would be, my recommended choice would be a regional strategy for combating terrorism, because i do think if you look at what has happened, a lot of for instance are being killed. so terrorism in africa is not just a threat to the u.s. it is to for instance, too.
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now, the kind of strategy that i will stress, though, is, i think it has to be rooted in democracy and social justice and good governance inside those every african country. that will then take away the grieveances and the things that will attract and create terrorists. if there are foreign terrorists coming around, there are different ways of dealing with them. but it has to be rooted in democracy because if we focus on foreign terrorism and know what is happening inside countries, it is really dangerous for two years. some of us were worried about the lack of focus and the move back from mali. the strategy rooted in democracy as a way of fighting the big threats of terrorism across africa.
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>> i would say a few things, of course i see things through the prism of rule of law and institutions as i noted were very weak. i would say to encourage a dialogue of all -- in which all malians can be a part, because the focus on those tribes who have taken up arms which are a tinny minority, there were a lot that were not in favor of this war. they felt it was the action on the part of a very few. to open up with respect to the north to ensure there is a dialogue so all voices can be heard not just those who have taken up arms and ensure dialogue that would address the underlying problems that address all malians. and then of course to not forget the issue of addressing abuses
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and the culture of impunity which could potentially lead to much graver violations in the future and after a vacuum is left in these areas in the north. >> dialogue and real accountability. >> i would say the one thing to take out of this is i think all of us are trying to draw lessons from the malian experience and asking us that for 20 years seemed to be a functioning democracy and one of the questions, elections even when held regularly doesn't make an effective democracy make. if we fast forward into 2013 and military operation goes well and the big cities are redeemed and we have good elections, i think the one lesson we should all take from this experience is the
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need for partnerships that democracy shouldn't end when you have to deepen the process of service delivery and strengthening of institutions. >> thank you very much. i appreciate your insight. >> i'll be quick. i thank all of you for your testimony and mr. mahmoud thank you for your testimony. you focused on the need of a credible government for mali in the south. i asked the d.o.d. lady before, evidently from your testimony, captain sunago is not the type of guy that would be representative of reform? >> yes. >> that is what mr. mahmoud said . secondly, i want to make a comment, there was a critical
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observation by adding contagion as a big concern and may be the biggest concern if this spreads, it becomes more and more powerful in neighboring partners and a significant problem not just for the united states but west africa. and i appreciate your testimony on that. >> thank you very much. i'm grateful for your partnership and the ease with which our staff works together to prepare these important hearings. it is past 11. all of your testimony, all of your written testimony will be submitted for the record. there were several other senators who expressed real interest in this hearing today but due to their schedules were not able to join us but i will leave the record open for a week to allow senators to submit written questions and for us to take actions going forward. i'm grateful for the support efforts that made it possible
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for us to get a great and full discussion of the many challenging issues facing us in the united states, in the region and in mali. thank you for joining us and all of our witnesses. we are grateful for your testimony today. with that, this hearing is adjourned. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> at 8:00 eastern on c-span, a look at the january deadline when tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff take effect. bloomberg government hosted a discussion this morning with the top democrat on the house budget committee, chris van hollen as well as republican senator bob corker and senator mark warner. at 9:00 eastern, president obama and house spear jaub boehner and spoke about the fiscal cliff today. republicans might be willing to agree to higher tax rates on the wealthy in january. house speaker calling on the
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obama administration to respond to the republicans' deficit proposal. president obama is at 9:00 eastern followed by speaker boehner. >> this weekend on c-span 3's american history tv, follow harry truman's eldest grandson to japan. >> everybody has their own view what happened and i don't want to argue survival to anyone in japan about the history. we're past that. and my whole purpose for being here is to listen to the living
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and to do what i can. >> sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. >> the supreme court will look at what was passed in 2008 by a majority of 6-3 i believe and going to say that is precedent. and indiana had a -- >> they decided on the indiana case. it was constitutional for them to establish i.d. they did not say that all of those states -- >> correct, they talked about indiana. let me finish because you misrepresented what i said. >> no, i didn't. >> the supreme court is the law of the land. >> when i hear these accusations
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that black people, voter i.d. laws disproportionately affect minorities -- it says to me that we have something missing in our brain. to me, white americans can get i.d.'s to vote and follow the laws, what are you telling black people, that somehow they're not good enough, they are less? and that's what bothers me about the rhetoric coming from the democrats and the left, that we always have to make special -- there has to be a specialness when we deal with minorities, because they're too feeble-minded. we need to make concessions for them because they can't follow the rules like everybody else. when you treat people like victims, i don't think they want to aspire. >> crystal wright sunday night
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at 8:00. form ter congressman jack brooks of texas died yesterday. he served 42 years in congress from 1953 to 1995. the democratic congressman was in a motorcade with president kennedy the day he was assassinated in dallas in 1963. the house of representatives observed a moment of silence in honor of jack brooks. >> i rise today, we rise today to ask you to join us in a moment of silence honoring our colleague, the honorable jack brooks who passed away yesterday at the age of 89. he was a good friend who served 42 years in congress. leader dedicated to bettering our country and will be missed by his family, friends and this congress. i urge one minute of silence.
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>> members, please rise for a moment of silence. >> housing and urban development secretary testifies on capitol hill tomorrow for the second day in a row. he will discuss his agency's budget and will be live at 10:00 a.m. eastern. tomorrow afternoon 4:30, president obama lights the national christmas tree outside the white house.
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house speaker john boehner said today that he's still waiting for a response from the white house on the g.o.p. deficit reduction proposal. they spoke to reporters in the capitol for about 10 minutes. >> good morning everyone. you know, this week, we made a good faith offer to avert the fiscal crisis and that offer included significant spending cuts and reforms and included additional revenue. and frankly, it was the balanced approach that the president's been asking for. now we need a response from the white house. we can't sit here and negotiate with ourselves. our targets and framework are
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things that we can all agree on. and it's exactly how we approached our discussions in the biden group, my discussions at the white house a year and a half ago and for that matter, in the joint select committee. and if the president doesn't agree with our proposal and our outline, i think he's got an obligation to send one to the congress. and a plan that can pass both chambers of congress. if you look at the plans that the white house has talked about thus far, they couldn't pass either house of the congress. we are ready and eager to talk to the president and to work with him to make sure that the american people aren't disadvantaged by what's happening here in washington. >> good morning. you know, i think at this point, pretty much most folks in the country and certainly in this town know where both sides are on taxes. i think we understand that. but to the speaker's point, we
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have not had any discussion and any specifics with this president about the real problem, which is spending. we have got to do something about the spending. and obsessions to raise taxes is not going to solve the problem. what will solve the problem is, doing something about the entitlements, taking on the wasteful spending in washington. we can't just keep borrowing money and raising taxes and expecting the problem to go away. that is our point to the president. and as the speaker said, we want to sit down with the president and want to talk specifics. we put an offer on the table now. he has out of hand reject that had. where are the specifics and where are the discussions? nothing is going on. the people of this country are suffering. we ask the president, sit down with us and be serious about the specifics in the spending so we can stop the wasteful spending in washington and finally address the problem. >> as we continue to try to
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solve the fiscal cliff, the thing we have continued to look at is our economy. today in the whip's office we will have small family-owned businesses in there and talk about ways to protect the family business, continue to grow while at the same time make sure we solve this fiscal cliff. look, each and every day as we walk the halls, you continue to ask the questions. you want the answers to solving the fiscal cliff. we put the offer on the table and the president now has to engage. the next 72 hours are critical. if he sits back and continues to play politics, that will give you the answer of where we're going. this is the opportunity for the country to lead and opportunity for the president to lead. >> as these fiscal cliff negotiations and debate continues, i think it's important to remember that washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. and under this administration,
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under president obama, we have seen record deficits and a record debt accumulate, and yet he keeps demanding that we raise taxes to pay for more spending. this will only hurt our economy. ernst and young has done an analysis of the president's proposal and said it will cost several hundreds thousands of jobs. there is a better way and the speaker has laid it out. it is an approach that calls for tax reform by reforming the tax code and passing responsible spending cuts in order to get our fiscal house in order. that's what america wants. this is our opportunity to do the big things. this is our moment to provide that leadership that america desperately wants and we stand here ready to take the action necessary. >> the american people are hurting right now and now is the moment where we need to step up to the plate and solve the
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problem. i don't know how any of us can look our kids and grandkids in the eye and explain to them that we aren't willing to pay for the things we are enjoying today but just going to send them the bill. that's why republicans have the proposal on the table that fixes the problem, puts us on the course to solve the problem, which is the out-of-control spending side of the ledger. we have come to the table with receive news. in fact, i think our receive news address the issue better in a pro-growth fashion fixing an old tax code that is out of date. we hope the president will be coming to the table and be serious about negotiating. >> president obama has an unbelievable opportunity to be a transformational president, that is, to bring the country together uniquely and solve this debt problem in ways that other presidents haven't really had
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that opportunity, or he can dissolve into zero-sum-game politics, where he wins and other people lose. i have seen an attribute in president obama when i served with him in the state senate where he was able to rise above and transform some very controversial issues in a way that was powerful. and it's my hope that president obama rises to this opportunity, avoids this zero-sum-game splash and instead leads the nation in ways that only one person can do, that is the president of the united states. house republicans are prepared to get to yes. house republicans are not prepared to get to foolish. and it is foolish to reject president obama's own self-described architecture of $3 in spending cuts for every dollar in new revenue. we are prepared to work and call on the white house to do the
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same thing. >> speaker boehner, president obama, the white house projection last offer -- [inaudible] 53% of americans will blame republicans in congress if you go over the fiscal cliff. how long can you have that hard line on those making 250 and above. >> america faces a very serious problem and our goal is to make sure it gets solved. we have a debt problem that is out of control. we have got to cut spending and i believe it is appropriate to put revenues on the table. the receive news we are putting on the table are going to come from, guess who? the rich. there are ways to limit deductions, close loopholes and have the same people pay more --
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more of their money to the federal government without raising the tax rates which we believe will harm our economy. [inaudible question] >> i think our members understand the seriousness of the situation that our country faces. trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. $16 trillion of debt on the books. every man, woman and child owing the american government $50,000 and that number is increasing every single year. as a result, our members understand that we've got to solve the problem, and we will. >> the house is going to leave today with two days left in the week --
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[inaudible] >> the house leaving with the fiscal cliff -- >> i will be here and will be available any moment to sit down with the president p to get serious about solving this problem. >> does the conference realize that you don't seem to be negotiating? >> our members believe strongly that raising tax rates will hurt the economy. closing loopholes, especially on those who are wealthy is a better way to raise this revenue than raising rates because raising rates will hurt the very people we are expecting to help create jobs in our country. thank you everybody. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> after speaker boehner's comments, he talked on the phone with president obama about the fiscal cliff, according to "the
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hill" newspaper. first conversation in a week. president obama spoke about the fiscal negotiations to a group of corporate c.e.o. oomplet and see the president shaking their hands. president obama's remarks are coming up here on c-span. we wanted to let you know from secretary treasury geithner. if republicans don't agree to higher tax rates. in speaking to business executives today, the president said he thinks republicans might be willing to agree to higher tax rates on the wealthy. mr. obama is introduced by the c.e.o. of boeing. >> we at the business roundtable are grateful to both the electricity -- for the engagement we have had with you and members of your team.
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listen, i know your team has really reached out significantly over the last few months to many people in this room. and i know personally from my work in the last three years on the export council that the outreach to us is again you inand we know you are seeking solutions that was outlined very sincerely this morning when we met with jack and the rest of the team. and i hope you get the same sense of purpose and commitment from us as we engage with you. there aren't a lot of wall flowers in here and eager for a two-way exchange nonetheless and hopefully your takeaway will be we can serve a useful purpose in the dialogue. mr. president, thank you again for joining us today. we would love to hear from you.
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[applause] >> good morning everybody. it is great to see all of you. many of you had a chance to see individually or in small groups over the last several months but good to be back at the business roundtable and jim, thanks for your leadership. originally, my team had prepared some remarks. they always get nervous when i'm out there on my own and never know what i might say, but given the dialogue that we had the last time, i thought it was useful for me to abbreviate my remarks, speak off-the-cuff and then spend the rest of the time having a conversation. let me begin by saying all of you in this room are not just business leaders, not just c.e.o.'s of your companies but economic leaders and thought leaders in this country. and i recognize that all of you have an enormous investment not
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only in your own companies but in the well-being of america. there are a lot of patriots in this room and people who care deeply about not only your bottom lines but also the future of this country. you have shown that over the last four years. we have gone through a difficult and economic period as we have seen in most of our life times and we have emerged not yet where we need to be, but we have certainly made progress. and the reason we have made progress in part is because of the outstanding management and productivity, gain s inefficiency and competitiveness that you have been able to achieve in each and every one of your companies. i have said it to the small groups and let me repeat it to the large group. i'm passionately rooting for your success, because if the companies in this room are doing well, then small businesses and medium-sized businesses up and
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down the chain are doing well. if the companies in this room are doing well, then folks get jobs, consumers get confidence and we're going to be able to compete around the world. now, the good news is that despite the extraordinary challenges that we have seen over the last four years, there is progress in some key sectors of our economy. we have seen housing finally begin to bounce back for the first time and that obviously has an enormous ripple effect throughout the economy. consumer confidence is as high as it's been. many of you over the last two throw h, three years have experienced record profits or near-record profits and have a lot of money where you are prepared to invest in plant, investments and hire folks. obviously, globally, the economy in europe is still soft. asia is not charging forward and
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some of the emerging markets are not charging forward as quickly as they were a few years ago, but what all of you recognize and what you have told me is that everybody's looking to america. because they understand that if we're able to put forward a long-term agenda for growth and prosperity that's broad-based here in the united states, that confidence will not just increase here in the united states, it will increase globally and we can get the kind of cycle that all of us have been waiting for and want to see. what's holding us back right now is a lot of stuff that is going on in this town. and i know that many of you have come down here to try to see if there is a way to break through the log jam and go ahead and get things done and i'm here to tell you that nobody wants to get
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this done more than me. what we have said instead is, let's allow higher rates to go up for the top 2% and that includes all of you, yes, but not that is going to affect your spending, your lifestyles or the economy in any significant way. let's make sure that 98% of americans don't see a single dime in tax increases next year or small businesses see a single dime in increases next year. and by doing that alone, we raise almost $1 trillion without any adverse effects on the economy. let's combine that, then, with some additional spending cuts and some long-term entitlement reform that can get us to a number close to $4 trillion, which stabilizes our debt and our deficits relative to g.d.p.
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for at least a decade, perhaps more. that's our plan. that's what we present. the holdup right now is that speaker boehner took a position, i think the day after the campaign, that said we're willing to bring in revenue, but we aren't willing to increase rates and i just explained to you why we don't think that works. we're not trying to -- we're not insisting on rates just out of spite or out of any kind of partisan bickering, but rather because we need to raise a certain amount of revenue. now we have seen some movement over the last several days amongst some republicans. i think there is a recognition that maybe they can accept some
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rate increases as long as it's combined with serious entitlement reform and additional spending cuts and if we can get the leadership on the republican side to take that framework, to acknowledge that reality, then the numbers actually aren't that far apart. another way of putting this is, we can probably solve this in about a week. it's not that tough. but we need that are conceptal breakthrough that says we need to do a balanced plan, that's what's best for the american economy and that's what the american people voted for and that's how we are going to get it done. let me make one last point and i'll start taking questions. there had been reports, and these are not necessarily confirmed and maybe some of you have more insight on this than i do, perhaps as the republicans
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go ahead and let middle-class tax cuts extended, upper income tax goes up, otherwise we don't get a deal and next year we come back and the thinking is republicans will have more leverage because there will be another vote on the debt ceiling and we will try to extract a stronger hand on the debt ceiling. i have to tell you that is a bad strategy for america, it's a bad strategy for your businesses and this is not a game that i will play. most of you were involved in discussions and watched the catastrophe that happened in august of 2011. everybody here is concerned about uncertainty. there is no uncertainty like the prospect that the united states of america, the largest economy
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that holds the world reserve currency potentially defaults on its debts. but we give up the basic notion that the united states stands behind its obligations. and we can't afford to go there again. and this isn't just my opinion but the opinion of most of the folks in this room. when i hear some on the other side suggesting that to resolve the possibility of a potential or a quarterly debt ceiling crisis, that there is a price to pay, the price is paid by the american people and your businesses and economic environment worldwide. and we should not accept going through that. john engler -- he and i philosophically don't agree on much --
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[laughter] >> i'm just being honest about john, he is a great politician and comes from the other party, but john is exactly right when he says that the only thing that debt ceiling for is to destroy your credit rating. so i want to send a very clear message to people here. we are not going to play that game next year. if congress in any way suggests that they are going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, which by the way, we have never done in our history until we did it last year, i will not play that game. we have to break that habit before it starts. so, with that, let me just say, we have one path where we
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resolve it fairly quickly. we have some tough spending cuts. we reform our entitlements. we have modest revenue increases. you get business certainty and you do what you do best, innovate, hire workers, make profits, do well by your shareholders and grow america and we have open-running room next year to deal with infrastructure, tax reform and immigration reform that will further make america competitive, that's one option. the other option is to engage in a self-inflicted series of wounds that will potentially push us back into recession and set back this country after all the work we have done over the last four years digging ourselves out of the hole. that's not the choice i would like to make. and make sure that everybody here in washington makes the
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right choice. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> this weekend on c-span 3 american history tv follow president trume truman's eldest grandson in japan. >> apologize for what? i don't see how everybody has their own view what happened. and i don't want to argue survival to anyone in japan about the history. and i think with that said and my whole purpose for being here is to listen to the living and to do what i can to see it doesn't happen